'Black' magic

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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:52 pm

Aemilius wrote:
M.G. wrote:
Aemilius wrote:The definitions of magic add various elements, mere volition or mental act doesn't constitute magic as such. There is very little in the definition of magic in the wikipedia article, and it's polish version is non-existent. Further inquiry into the forms of magic mentioned in wikipedia tell us more what it really is.
Here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic
An example: you may go jogging with the intention and wish of becoming healthy and of remaining in good health. Jogging is not seen normally as a magical operation.


This isn't hugely important in terms of dharma, but I'd define magic as the deliberate use of non-local action.

As many have said, faith in one's guru, meditative stability, and regular deity & guardian practice absolutely protects against all real black magic, which is anyway quite rare.


That leads to the further question: what is "non-local action"?


Interaction or information exchange between not obviously connected systems.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:49 pm

M.G. wrote:Interaction or information exchange between not obviously connected systems.
Like, radio transmission is magic?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:09 pm

Radio utilizes measurable, well understood connecting signals.
In non-local action, the intermediary agency is not observable.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby Aemilius » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:49 am

"Non-local action" is a good expression, it covers such instances of magical influencing as TV-news and the like. TV-news creates a believable image of events, and this image affects the actual events and actual persons on the spot where the news-event has taken place. Magical or non-local influencing can actually change the perceivable reality. Especially, as TV-news are believed by hundred millions of people, it can change and affect reality.
Often the people, who by chance know what actually took place, become alienated from their own experience. But it depends, some people are used to the artificial or synthetic reality, and some are not. The social control usually demands that all normal and good people accept the TV-news as truth, i.e. that certain persons must give up their own experience of truth.
It is not the electromagnetic signals but peoples minds and their mental formations.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:45 pm

Aemilius wrote:"Non-local action" is a good expression, it covers such instances of magical influencing as TV-news and the like. TV-news creates a believable image of events, and this image affects the actual events and actual persons on the spot where the news-event has taken place. Magical or non-local influencing can actually change the perceivable reality. Especially, as TV-news are believed by hundred millions of people, it can change and affect reality.
Often the people, who by chance know what actually took place, become alienated from their own experience. But it depends, some people are used to the artificial or synthetic reality, and some are not. The social control usually demands that all normal and good people accept the TV-news as truth, i.e. that certain persons must give up their own experience of truth.
It is not the electromagnetic signals but peoples minds and their mental formations.


That's an interesting analogy but I wouldn't completely equate media influence with magical action.

This essay on Kurukulla by John Reynolds has some interesting information on magic in Tibetan Buddhism:

http://vajranatha.com/teaching/Kurukulla.htm
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby Aemilius » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:48 am

There is no complete equation, they have their own histories and their own roles in human society. If something actually works, it is natural that its principles will be applied in very different fields of life and of human existence.
There is a fundamental blindness or self-importance in buddhist tantrism, and in buddhist esotericism in the case of the nontantric schools. This basic ignorance/self-importance prevents you from seeing that it exists everywhere.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:34 pm

Aemilius wrote:There is no complete equation, they have their own histories and their own roles in human society. If something actually works, it is natural that its principles will be applied in very different fields of life and of human existence.
There is a fundamental blindness or self-importance in buddhist tantrism, and in buddhist esotericism in the case of the nontantric schools. This basic ignorance/self-importance prevents you from seeing that it exists everywhere.


I'm not a Buddhist or a tantrika, so any such blindness wouldn't affect my judgment.
We'll just have to disagree on this matter.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:39 pm

M.G. wrote:This essay on Kurukulla by John Reynolds has some interesting information on magic in Tibetan Buddhism:

http://vajranatha.com/teaching/Kurukulla.htm


I wouldn't equate magic with siddhi per se. I read this page from Reynolds some time ago and don't completely agree with his terminology although the information is correct beyond that. The thing is that in western traditions magic is something done essentially "at will" often through rituals but siddhi is not bestowed or acquired at will at all.

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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:05 pm

kirtu wrote:
M.G. wrote:This essay on Kurukulla by John Reynolds has some interesting information on magic in Tibetan Buddhism:

http://vajranatha.com/teaching/Kurukulla.htm


I wouldn't equate magic with siddhi per se. I read this page from Reynolds some time ago and don't completely agree with his terminology although the information is correct beyond that. The thing is that in western traditions magic is something done essentially "at will" often through rituals but siddhi is not bestowed or acquired at will at all.

Kirt


My understanding is that siddhi are yogic attainments with no parallels (as far as I know) in non-Indic religious traditions whereas magic refers to non-local information transfer, usually by ritual, and is found in many traditions including Buddhism.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:20 pm

M.G. wrote:
kirtu wrote:
M.G. wrote:This essay on Kurukulla by John Reynolds has some interesting information on magic in Tibetan Buddhism:

http://vajranatha.com/teaching/Kurukulla.htm


I wouldn't equate magic with siddhi per se. I read this page from Reynolds some time ago and don't completely agree with his terminology although the information is correct beyond that. The thing is that in western traditions magic is something done essentially "at will" often through rituals but siddhi is not bestowed or acquired at will at all.

Kirt


My understanding is that siddhi are yogic attainments with no parallels (as far as I know) in non-Indic religious traditions whereas magic refers to non-local information transfer, usually by ritual, and is found in many traditions including Buddhism.


It appears on that page that Reynolds is not making a distinction.

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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:47 pm

M.G. wrote:...whereas magic refers to non-local information transfer...
Where does this term originate from? It is a ridiculous descriptor for magic. And why "non-local"? Cannot magic be "on the spot"? Exorcisms (for example) are pretty damn "local".
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:05 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
M.G. wrote:...whereas magic refers to non-local information transfer...
Where does this term originate from? It is a ridiculous descriptor for magic. And why "non-local"? Cannot magic be "on the spot"? Exorcisms (for example) are pretty damn "local".


Hmmmm... I think non-locality is properly a term used in physics to attempt to understand non-intuitive microscopic phenomena like entanglement. I can't tell you where I first heard the term used to describe magical action; probably one of the occult circles I used to hang out in during my misspent youth. Certainly one thing I learned in those circles was that there are multiple possible definitions of magical phenomena.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:10 pm

@Kirt - In Tibetan Buddhism, isn't the word "siddhi" at least sometimes used to refer to magical activities accomplished through ritual? If that's not the case then I agree with your critique of Reynolds' essay.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:02 pm

M.G. wrote:Hmmmm... I think non-locality is properly a term used in physics to attempt to understand non-intuitive microscopic phenomena like entanglement. I can't tell you where I first heard the term used to describe magical action; probably one of the occult circles I used to hang out in during my misspent youth. Certainly one thing I learned in those circles was that there are multiple possible definitions of magical phenomena.
Non-locality:
In physics, nonlocality or action at a distance is the direct interaction of two objects that are separated in space with no intermediate agency or mechanism. Regarding the unexplained nature of gravity, Isaac Newton (1642-1727) considered action-at-a-distance "so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it". Quantum nonlocality refers to what Einstein called the "spooky action at a distance" of quantum entanglement.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlocality
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby M.G. » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:09 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
M.G. wrote:Hmmmm... I think non-locality is properly a term used in physics to attempt to understand non-intuitive microscopic phenomena like entanglement. I can't tell you where I first heard the term used to describe magical action; probably one of the occult circles I used to hang out in during my misspent youth. Certainly one thing I learned in those circles was that there are multiple possible definitions of magical phenomena.
Non-locality:
In physics, nonlocality or action at a distance is the direct interaction of two objects that are separated in space with no intermediate agency or mechanism. Regarding the unexplained nature of gravity, Isaac Newton (1642-1727) considered action-at-a-distance "so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it". Quantum nonlocality refers to what Einstein called the "spooky action at a distance" of quantum entanglement.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlocality


Sounds right. I think the idea is that, assuming one believes magic works beyond the realm of mundane psychology, we don't really understand or know how to precisely measure the intermediary agency which connects a ritual action with the desired effect.
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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:27 pm

M.G. wrote:@Kirt - In Tibetan Buddhism, isn't the word "siddhi" at least sometimes used to refer to magical activities accomplished through ritual? If that's not the case then I agree with your critique of Reynolds' essay.


Yes it is. Additionally there are practices for mundane purposes which can only be described as magic (mundane spirit entities are asked to accomplish something). Additionally Tsongkhapa wrote a text for attaining siddhi translated into English as "Yoga Tantra: Paths To Magical Feats". My objection to the Reynolds page is just that there was no distinction made between a western conception of magic (often involving spirit entities doing something and being possibly coercive [do this and this and spirits have no choice but to cause the result]) and siddhi.

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Re: 'Black' magic

Postby Aemilius » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:54 am

The standard buddhist teaching in the Sutras and in Abhidharma is that the basis for the miraculous powers is the attainment of the fourth dhyana, and the ability to enter the fourth dhyana at will. Then if you look at the Four Rddhipada or Four Bases of Magical Power, there certainly is something that looks like concentration of will, -albeit there are very different translations of these four factors, in different sources. There is a selection of Pali sources for the Four Bases of Magical Abilities in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Wings of Awakening. Abhidharmakosha also mentions this topic.
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